Another month and another Kinks discovery for me. This time Kinks Kontroversy, as it is just turned midnight I am having my first listen to it. As usual I have bought the deluxe 2cd version and there are not many songs on either cd I know so this is going to take some listening to
I am going to put this back a month because as I have been through a dose of Covid 19 I have just not been listening to music at all, for 2 weeks was getting out of bed for 5 mins and having to go back, was not nice. Anyhow I have just not listened to The Kinks Kontroversy enough to form a proper opinion. From the few listens I have had it is a more mature album but with less of the youthful bluster of the first couple of albums but that is just a group finding its feet, not meant as a criticism. From my limited time with it I just do not get the first track, "Milk Cow Blues" it is a kind of music that leaves me cold, I really want to like it but I can't. Obviously I like "Till The End Of The Day", I also like "The World Keeps Going Round" In fact, apart from the forst track there are none that I do not like, just got to get to know them better. Haven't listened to the 2nd CD yet but must be a winner with "Dedicated Follower Of Fashion" "Till The End Of The Day" and "Well respected Man" it must be a winner. The best part of this journey is discovering songs by a great group that I have never heard before. Magical. A few more listens and I will post again.
The album is growing on me a lot. I like every track apart from the first. It is definitely the most complete Kinks album and "The World Keeps Going Round" and "Where Have All The Good Times Gone" are giant steps in Ray's songwriting, showing early signs of his longing for times past which will eventually lead to the Arthur and Village Green masterpieces. I have read a couple of reviews which say this is a patchy unfocused album but I couldn't disagree more. I think it is their most consistant album to date, but of course this is only my, a Kinks novice, view.
I think that The Kinks‘ third album „The Kinks Kontroversy“ stands as a kind of transitional record between their earlier blues-influenced British Invasion sound and the more imminent cultivated/distinctly British songwriting. One can sense Ray Davies’ fast progression as a songwriter, his lyrics became more sophisticated and the production got better. It was a huge step forward for The Kinks and the best was yet to come. Ray was in the lobby of something very BIG. This classic album includes the last rhythm and blues cover ever done by the band, the raw and pure „Milk Cow Blues“ by Sleepy John Estes.
My favourite tracks are „When I See That Girl Of Mine“, „Till The End Of The Day“, „I’m On An Island“, „Where Have All The Good Times Gone“ (a timeless wistful ode to a distant past written by a 21-years-old man with the life-experienced mind of a 60-years-old gentleman), „It’s Too Late“ (with the unforgettable Nicky Hopkins, one of the rock’s greatest session man ever, on piano) and „What’s In Store For Me“.
The more I listen to this album the more I like it, apart from "Milk Cow Blues" which I cannot get into at all, but this is really no criticism of The Kinks, apart from the first Jethro Tull album and a few John mayall songs I am not a blues fan. I agree with Martin that the production is far superior to earlier albums. The one thing I am slightly disappointed about is the quality of the extras on the 2nd CD, as far as I can tell qhute a few of them sound like they are from recording sessions for the earlier albums, the songs and production are not up to the standard of the album itself. I think I will move on to the next album "Face To Face" now, luckily I bought this just before the closure of all the shops, I got the 2CD version again as the extras on them are mainly superb. Gonna stick my headphones on and listen to "Face To Face" now and post after a few plays.
As I travel along my Kinks odyssey I realise that I am enjoying the albums more as I progress through them. Although I did enjoy the first couple of albums they are very much "of the 60"s. The production was basic to say the least and albums were rushed out to cash in on hit singles. This is not meant to be a criticism, that is the way it was then. I find "Kontroversy" and "Face To Face" to be easier to listen to because the production is so much better, also the playing and songwriting is improving in leaps and bounds. Which leads me on to "Face To Face". I really like the first 5 tracks, I think that "Too Much On My Mind" is, apart from the singles, the best Kinks track I have heard up to now, but of course I am sure my opinion will chance with more plays. Apart from "Sunny Afternoon" the rest of the album has not sunk in yet but i am sure most of it will as I get to know them more.
„Face To Face“ started off The Kinks‘ Golden Age (1966-1972).
Conceived as a loose rock concept album and consisting entirely of Ray Davies compositions, it is a great storytelling musical milestone with the common theme of social observation rewarding the listeners all the way through. Ray’s fascination with English class and social structures pervades deeply. He created a number of vivid character portraits here and is in full creative flight.
Two songs recorded and released by other British bands in the months prior to the release of this album are The Pretty Things’ „A House In The Country“ and The Herman’s Hermits’ „Dandy“; both of them became hits.
Unreleased songs from the „Face To Face“ sessions are reportedly „Fallen Idol", „Everybody Wants To Be A Personality", „Lilacs And Daffodils" (also known as „Sir Jasper" with Mick Avory on vocals) and „A Girl Who Goes To Discotheques". Whether or not these unreleased tracks will ever see the light of day remains to be seen.
My favourite tracks are „Rosie Won’t You Please Come Home“, „Too Much On My Mind“, „Rainy Day In June“, „Most Exclusive Residence For Sale“, „Fancy (the Middle Eastern-influenced guitar was a new sound for them and opened up all kinds of possibilities for their music going forward and for other bands yet to come)“, „Little Miss Queen Of Darkness (first time ever John Dalton played bass on a Kinks song)“ and „Sunny Afternoon (like The Beatles’ „Taxman,” they’re bemoaning the high taxes imposed by the British government)“.
Last Edit: May 20, 2020 6:51:59 GMT -5 by martin53
The more I listen to this the more I like it, my fav is still "Too Much On My Mind" and I Really like "Most Exclusive Residence For Sale". I also like "Rosie Won't You Please Come Home" which is like a sequel to The Beatles " She's Leaving Home". I am now listening to the second half of the album and the songs are starting to sink in
Got to say that I am very impressed with "Something Else." Took a few listens like all good album do, but the standard of playing and songwriting is to quite The Beatles "getting better all the time." As a bit of a "Muso" the two things that stop it from being a classic are the somewhat messy arrangements and the hit and miss production. Listen to "David Watts" and "Waterloo Sunset", both excellent productions and then listen to "No Reason" and the vocals sound like they were sung by a vocalist with their head stuck in a bucket. But these are minor quibbles and considering it was recorded in 1967 when production techniques were primative to say the least it is a miracle it sounds so good. Fav songs at the moment? I am going to be boring but as "Waterloo Sunset" is my fav ever Kinks song that would have to be included, and of course "David Watts". I really like "Two Sisters", "Afternoon Tea" and "Situation Vacant" and I even have to admikt, after my scathing criticism than even "Harry Rag" is growing on me"
„Something Else By The Kinks“ is the second milestone of The Kinks‘ Golden Age (1966-1972).
It’s an excellent album offering 13 classic British original pop songs (10 by Ray and 3 by Dave) covering as always a wide variety of styles. They still form a cohesive whole unlike anything the band had previously released.
The songs‘ selection is impressive even more as the band was at that time busy stockpiling ideas and songs for Ray’s Village Green Project so it came down to make the right choices for the respective record. Not one single miss. In those days everybody was listening to Frank Sinatra and to Perry Como a lot; their influences shine through sometimes.
As Ray Davies' songwriting becomes more refined, he becomes more nostalgic and sentimental retreating from the psychedelic and mod posturings that had dominated the rock world. Well, „Something Else By The Kinks“ sounds like nothing else from 1967. The Kinks never rock very hard on the album preferring mellower, acoustic baroque pop ballads, English music hall numbers and tempered Rhythm 'n' Blues to full-out guitar attacks. Part of the album's strength lies in its calm music since it provides an elegant support for Davies' character portraits and vignettes. From the martial stomp of „David Watts" to the exquisite shimmering „Waterloo Sunset" there's not a weak song on the record. The metaphorical „Two Sisters", the Noël Cowardesque „End Of The Season", the rotating „Lazy Old Sun" and the wry „Situation Vacant" are beauties. And just as magnificent is the emergence of Dave Davies as a songwriter. His Dylanesque „Death Of A Clown" and bluesy rocker „Love Me Till the Sun Shines" hold their own against Ray's masterpieces thus helping to make „Something Else By The Kinks“ the endlessly fascinating album that it is.
Many of the recordings feature the keyboard work of Nicky Hopkins and the backing vocals of Davies's wife, Rasa. Ray Davies assumed control over production after the departure of Shel Talmy; hence „Something Else By The Kinks“ marked a profound change in the sound and production style of the band. The record per se is a product of the band's „introspective soft rock period".
My favourite tracks are „Two Sisters (interesting character study – could this be about Ray and Dave?)“, „No Return (Bossa Nova - great Summer easy listening)“, „Situation Vacant“, „Lazy Old Sun (definitely the oddest and most fascinating song on the whole album)“, „Afternoon Tea“, „End Of The Season (the hidden gem)“ and „Waterloo Sunset (the perfect pop song)“.
The Kinks were in excellent company when "Something Else By The Kinks" was released in 1967 - other groups with a different and a new sound were The Beatles „Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band“, The Doors „The Doors“, The Moody Blues With The London Festival Orchestra „Days Of Future Passed“, Pink Floyd „The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn“ and Procol Harum „Procol Harum“ to name but a few.
Last Edit: Jun 13, 2020 18:20:40 GMT -5 by martin53
Once again Martin sums up the album far better than I can and made me realize the reason it takes me a long time to get "into" some of The Kinks songs that I have not heard before. The Kinks sound like no-one else. Their songs are like no-one elses and trying to listen to the Kinks songs using other groups as a reference is pointless. The Kinks are unique and Ray is a chronicler of life and relationships as experienced by millions of ordinary people. He writes about subjects no-one else would, having a cup of tea, a dead end street, a village green, etc etc. When he writes a song about love he writes about love as experienced by real people in real life. Love that is not all heart and flowers, love that has to fit in at the end of a day working in a factory. Real love not idealized love. Anyhow back to the album, I agree that there is not a bad song on the album, some I love, some I like and some I haven't quite got into yet, like "End Of The Season" and "Funny Face" but they are certainly not bad songs. The Kinks career just keep on going onwards and upwards.